We watched Peter Brady knock Buddy Hinton’s tooth loose Saturday night. Linderman and Clifford just bloodied up Matt Dillon and his bald accomplice. Biff got a truckload of cow mess dumped on his head, this time in Melbourne, Australia, rather than Hill Valley, California.
Ronda Rousey lost a fight against Holly Holm this weekend. She likely lost endorsements, movie deals, and magazine covers. Most importantly, she lost that bully mystique, which once gone never returns.
Once Bill Goldberg got tasered by Scott Hall, or Mike Tyson got tagged by Buster Douglas, we never quite looked at them the same way. Holm left a blueprint by using jabs, kicks, length, and movement to keep Rousey at bay, sure. But once you beat the bully you don’t need the blueprint.
Strangely, Rousey foresaw the blueprint even before its execution.
“She’s the type of fighter that you have to be very, very patient with,” Rousey confessed to Jimmy Fallon about Holm last month on The Tonight Show. “I feel like she’s gonna try and, like, keep distance and keep far away from me and get me frustrated until a point I’ll make a mistake and she can try and kick me in the head. But it’s not gonna go like that.”
It did. Exactly. Rousey both called her own shot and never saw it coming.
“She’s been able to win in devastating fashion because she was able to impose her will on a lot of girls,” Holm noted after the fight. Holm, a woman, didn’t let Rowdy treat her like one of the girls. She stood up to the bully, thereby legating courage to UFC lionesses with less of it. Rousey, should she choose to fight on, no longer beats opponents before a bout begins.
“The life of a champion I think isn’t for everybody,” Rousey theorized before the fight. She courteously advised Holm that she would “really enjoy her life a lot more” in defeat. “I hope that she takes the money that she gets for losing and has a great life that she would like a lot more than this one.”
Holm appeared pretty comfortable wearing the belt on Sunday. Rousey appears naked without it. Like Linus leeching onto that blue blanket, Ronda needs that gold belt for psychological comfort. A source said as much in telling a celebrity site that Rousey recovers from a split lip and a concussion but “her pride has been shattered.”
And we all know what cometh before the fall. Rousey refused to touch gloves prior to her fight with Holm and shake Miesha Tate’s hand after her victory over her at UFC 168. She taunted and laughed at Bethe Correia after knocking her senseless this summer. But, like her song says, she doesn’t give a damn about her bad reputation.
When your head rests above the clouds, you can’t help but confuse a few of the people that you step on for ants. Now that Rousey has rapidly descended to earth, the people stepped on by her rush to step on her. Miesha Tate, who endured Rousey’s bad and often bizarre behavior as a rival coach on The Ultimate Fighter, announced to a packed strip club strangely transfixed on clothed ladies: “You just got beat, b—-!” Donald Trump jumped on the pile after first jumping on the bandwagon. The presidential candidate, earlier dissed by the cage fighter, called himself “glad to see” Rousey, whom he called “not a nice person,” lose. Even Lady Gaga ridiculed Rousey in defeat.
But the little people did the greatest gloating. Anonymous online critics now deride her as a hype train derailed. But many of those critics rode on that train when it sped 100 miles a minute with Sports Illustrated covers proclaiming her “the world’s most dominant athlete” and the mean girl becoming a ubiquitous presence on commercials, talk shows, and movies. These turncoats include journalists who despite being belittled as “bloggers” and hung-up on by Rousey on the recent UFC 193 conference call heretofore gave her the kind of press that L’Osservatore Romano reserves for Jesus. Like other bullies, Rousey enjoyed the mob’s support when everything went her way. But they turned on her like mobs do once the going got tough. When powerful people make a habit of mistreating people, they get mistreated upon losing power.
The Olympic bronze medalist did not act as much of a champion as champion. Ironically, Rousey proves herself a champion or not by what she does without the belt. In mixed-martial arts, everybody gets knocked down. Not everybody gets back up. We knew a mythologized Ronda before this weekend. Now we meet the real woman.
Dana White put all his eggs in one fragile ego’s basket. The eggs, and the ego, cracked. And just like an earlier egg found out after a fall, all the kings horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty together again.